Firing

There’s danger in every aspect of firing, from WARN Act layoffs and exit interviews to constructive discharge and more.

Learn how to fire an employee and sidestep wrongful termination lawsuits, with battle-tested firing procedures, and employment termination letters. At last, you can fire at will!

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The Texas Supreme Court has handed an important victory to Texas employers eager to avoid jury trials for employment disputes: It ruled that, as long as the employees are at-will workers, threatening to fire them for refusing to give up the right to a jury trial does not invalidate the agreement.
In a recent case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to extend protected status to an investigator who wanted her company to go further than it was willing to after it discovered sexual harassment.

In Minnesota, employees who suffer from a serious illness can still collect unemployment compensation if they ask their employers for an accommodation. If none is available, then the employee can collect benefits if he can’t work. But employees must tell their em­­ployers about their medical condition.

You’ll rarely lose a termination-related lawsuit if your handbook contains clear rules that you follow consistently. That’s because when everyone who breaks the same rule is equitably disciplined, fired employees will have a hard time finding ­workers outside their protected class who were treated more favorably than they were.

Illinois employees are protected from retaliation for filing workers’ compensation claims. Protection kicks in when a claim is actually filed or when the employer knows the employee was injured and needs medical care. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fire an injured employee for reasons wholly unrelated to the injury.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent retaliation lawsuits is to follow up with the employee who complained. Remind her that you won’t tolerate retaliation, and be sure to check back at least once following the investigation.
Post-termination communication is one area in which managers can get into trouble. Managers should follow these best practices when communicating about an employee’s departure.
Here’s a good rule of thumb when disciplining employees: Consider it a given that if discipline leads to termination, the entire disciplinary decision-making process will be challenged in court. That’s why you must carefully document every disciplinary action, starting with warnings.

Disabled employees sometimes try to use their medical conditions as an excuse for poor behavior. Don’t fall for it. Disability can’t be used to avoid discipline for misconduct.

It used to be that managers picked up the phone when seeking HR’s input on how to handle an employee problem. These days, they send an email. That can spell big trouble. Email, unlike a phone conversation, leaves a perfect record of what transpired. And courts don’t hesitate to use email as evidence.

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